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White House Defends Donald Trump’s Use Of National Prayer Breakfast To Pray For ‘Apprentice’ Ratings

Deadline logo Deadline 2/2/2017 Lisa de Moraes
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UPDATE with Sean Spicer, Arnold Schwarzenegger statements: President Donald Trump kicked off his National Prayer Breakfast address thanking Celebrity Apprentice creator/executive producer Mark Burnett, who had introduced him, and telling those gathered how he fired his agent, who had argued against doing the reality series, when the show became a hit and the agent wanted his commission.

“We had tremendous success on The Apprentice and, when I ran for president, I had to leave the show,” Trump told religious leaders and diplomats. “And they hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place. And we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster,” said Trump, who remains a producer on the NBC series. “Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again. And I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can. For those ratings. Okay?”

Schwarzenegger’s rep responded quickly:  “Arnold is praying that President Trump can start improving his own approval ratings, which were the worst in history for an incoming President, by taking his job seriously and working inclusively.”

At today’s White House press briefing, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer got asked if the annual National Prayer Breakfast was an appropriate venue for Trump to talk about the NBC reality-TV series and its recent lousy ratings.

Spicer chided the media for focusing on those remarks, calling it a “lighthearted moment” between the president and Burnett, and that the “totality of his remarks” at the prayer breakfast “were absolutely beautiful.”

Schwarzenegger, who took to Twitter over Trump’s prayer-breakfast Apprentice snark, seemed to feel otherwise:

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